India suffered an unexpected ouster from the semifinals of the ICC World Cup 2019 losing to New Zealand by 18 runs in Manchester. Head coach Ravi Shastri attracted a lot of criticisms from the fans including former India skipper Sourav Ganguly for sending MS Dhoni after Dinesh Karthik and Hardik Pandya. But Shastri has revealed that it was a team decision to hold back the veteran wicket-keeper batsman for the latter part of the game.

It was a team’s decision: Shastri

Chasing 240 runs set by New Zealand, India received early set back losing their top three batsmen within six runs. The management decided to send Dinesh Karthik ahead who also returned soon to make thing worse. Struggling at 24 for four, the team took another strange decision of holding back MS Dhoni and send hard-hitting all-rounder Hardik Pandya ahead. Later on, MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja staged a 100+ partnership to take the game deep, but the Kiwis bounced back to in time to take the game.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni. Credit: Twitter

Also read: ICC World Cup 2019: Team India To Stay In Manchester Till July 14

Soon after the game, many fans came hard at Ravi Shastri including Sourav Ganguly. The former cricketer said that it was an ideal situation to send the experienced MS Dhoni early who could dictate terms in the middle. But Shastri has revealed that it was a team’s strategy and also explained the rationale behind sending him late in the innings.

“It was a team decision. Everyone was in with it — and it was a simple decision, too. Last thing you wanted was Dhoni coming out to bat early and getting out — that would have killed the chase. We needed his experience later. He is the greatest finisher of all times — and it would have been criminal to not make use of him in that way. The whole team was clear on it,” Shastri said to Indian Express.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant (R) Credits: Getty Images

Also read: Yograj Singh Says MS Dhoni Responsible For Ouster Of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh From Indian Team

Furthermore, Ravi Shastri backed young Rishabh Pant who gave away his wicket playing a rash shot at that crunch situation. The India coach said that the young Pant will learn from here and he already knows that he committed a mistake there.

“Rishabh Pant did look pretty secure when he got out to bat, even against (New Zealand fast bowler) Trent Boult, didn’t he? You could then say that if Pant had continued and not got out… but that’s sport. You grow up in quick time. He will learn, he already knows it,” he concluded.